It’s starting to feel like the beginning of the end. Today I spent half an hour looking at the new Ikea catalogue with Paul and Ella, the three of us trying to pick out the prettiest bed for me to buy for my apartment next year. We settled on a dark metal bed frame – I knew this was the perfect girly pick when E started making indiscernible cooing sounds and pointing out the matching bedside tables, while P started making fake retching sounds.
I still have nearly four whole months left in Paris, but I’m already planning for the fifth one. I finally bought my ticket home a few weeks ago, which was a 900 dollar blow to my bank account. Apparently it is not cheap to fly one-way from France o the West Coast at the end of July. My flight arrives at SeaTac Airport at 4:45 pm on July 27th, and on July 28th, there’s a concert I want to see in Renton. August 11th we leave for the annual family beach trip to the Washington Coast, and my brother and I are crusading for a family date to see the Steve Miller Band play a concert in September.
I’ve already emailed my boss from work last summer to see about working as a teaching assistant for Seabury Summer classes again this year, and I’ve sent in my volunteer application to work at the UW incoming foreign exchange student orientation at the end of the summer. Christina and I have been stalking the classifieds for rental apartments for the past few weeks now, and P and E are excitedly helping me make-believe furnish it. There should be an emphasis on make-believe, because both of the kids were thrilled by a completely round bed featured in the catalogue. They didn’t want to listen to me telling them that it would be really hard finding an apartment with a bed big enough to host a round bed – not to mention the Hugh Hefner references that I didn’t feel like mentioning to the kids.
Registration for Autumn quarter is coming up in May and I need to email my Jackson School advisor about scheduling. I also need to track down a professor to partner with on my qualifying paper – an international studies-specific paper usually written during the fall of your Junior year, unless, of course, you’re studying abroad. I also need to pin down a topic for the paper, which should be, according to my advisor, an expansion on something I’ve studied this year. So far I’m leaning toward EU enlargement for the paper topic – a subject that intrigues me and is always current.
Besides worrying about my classes for Autumn 2007, there’s also that pesky fact that I’m going to be a Senior. This means that in addition to the regular stress of finding a schedule that fits with my two majors, I need to find a schedule that is going to keep me on track for graduation next June. As much as I want to just sit back and enjoy the baguettes, the reality is that there are a lot of things I need to figure out about what I’ll be doing in the few months after I step off of that plane for the final time.
I’m not the only one who’s thinking ahead. Cassie (nanny mom) is already stressing about how to explain to Georges what has happened to me when I disappear for good in the middle of the summer. You can explain it anyway you want to a three-year old, but the only thing he’s going to retain is “Halley going on a big big airplane?” It’s been more than a month since my mom ditched me for Tacoma, and Georges is still completely befuddled. “Halley, where Halley-mom go?” he asks me every few days.
There’s also the question of my replacement for next year – no matter how thoroughly you interview someone, or how highly recommended they come from their last employer, it’s still terrifying to employ a complete stranger to spend 25 hours a week with your children. The fact that an ex=employee of the family is currently being investigated for letting an 11-month old baby drown in the bathtub on her watch is only compounding the terror. It’s infinitely less scary if you find someone who is recommended by a person you already know and trust, so when C asked me to help her find someone for next year, I completely understood.
Thinking that this would be a great opportunity to keep in the UW family – a free apartment in the heart of Paris in exchange for a little light babysitting – I emailed my advisor in the UW study abroad office, only to find out that not a single Husky applied to Sciences Po this year. I find this totally bizarre, but what can you do? At least the lack of Washington students heading to Paris doesn’t affect the direct exchange agreement with Sciences Po, and there are still 4 Frenchies destined for Seattle in September.
Feeling like I needed to reach out to the students heading to Washington next year, I found their names at Sciences Po and emailed them. Having conversation after conversation about what people wear in Seattle (my answer: Jeans, flip-flops and hooded sweatshirts, plus a lot of polar fleece) or whether there’s a good music scene in Washington (my answer: Um, hello, have you heard of Jimi Hendrix? Nirvana? Pearl Jam? You don’t need to worry.) hasn’t done anything to redirect my thoughts from the upcoming school year.
I keep catching myself thinking about August and beyond and feeling like I should stop thinking about things that are so far away. But then again, four months is not a long time. In two months, I’ll be winding up my second semester at Sciences Po. Then I’ll be hosting a ridiculous slew of visitors, from brothers to boyfriends, to aunts and uncles, to friends of brothers, my floor will be jam packed for a month. Then it’s down to Provence for two weeks in July with the nanny family, two weeks in Turkey and Israel with Rachael (our last hurrah), two days in Paris to square things away and it’s back to Tacoma again. Four months isn’t very much time at all.
Yes, it’s definitely the beginning of the end. Or I suppose a more optimistic way of looking at it would be, it’s the beginning of the beginning of a new set of adventures: Tacoma Girl Back in Tacoma. See you then. Three months, three weeks and counting.